THE POLITICAL INTEREST: NEW POWER FOR THE PEN

HOW PRESIDENTS CAN USE--AND ABUSE--THE LINE-ITEM VETO

IF ONLY WE HAD THE LINE-ITEM VETO. FOR YEARS--decades, actually--that wish has been a mantra. Editorial writers, good-government groups and all modern Presidents have wanted to give the Chief Executive the power to comb bloated budget bills and X out the most nonsensical portions, notably the pork-barrel provisions that members of Congress trade among themselves. In fact, straight-shooting members of Congress have been trying to give Presidents this authority since 1876. Forty-three state Governors have had it for years. Now, finally, the call is being answered. Last week the House and Senate approved a modified line-item veto bill. President Clinton will...

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